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Patriots survive scare from Gators


South Terrebonne's Damien Charles (15) drives to the basket as Ellender's Leland Alexander (11) defends during Friday's District 8-4A game in Bourg. (Photo by Benjamin Oliver Hicks/Staff)


BOURG — South Terrebonne got a bad sign that Friday night's District 8-4A clash with Ellender wouldn't go in their favor.

The Gators were assessed a technical foul for not having their scorebook ready for the referee prior to the game's start.

Ellender would need that extra point gained to survive several Gators comebacks in a 57-52 victory.

Cameron Parafait powered the Patriots attack with a game-high 30 points, including shooting 6-for-9 from beyond the arc.

"We were really good in the first half, but we let little things rattle us late," Ellender coach Cornel Scott said. "I like the way our guys stuck together, and it's good just to get a win."

Ellender (11-9 overall, 2-1 in district) sprinted out to a 12-0 lead to begin the game. Parafait drained four three-pointers in the opening quarter, but it was a layup plus the foul that bumped the Patriots advantage to 18-2.

"We had a morning shoot around, and I put in a lot of threes," Parafait said about his shooting performance. "When I'm feeling it, then they feed me."

"He was hungry (Friday night), so we just kept feeding them," Scott echoed. "When Cam's on, then our team goes."

South Terrebonne (5-13, 2-2 district) used its defensive tenacity to rally back. Over a six-minute stretch, the Gators went on a 17-5 burst. Back-to-back buckets from Chandler Arceaneaux and Patrick Wilson (15 points each) brought South Terrebonne to within 23-19 midway through the second quarter.

"Our aggressive defense got us back into the game," South Terrebonne coach David Neal said. "We created a lot of turnovers that resulted in easy baskets."

With the momentum shifted, Scott decided to slow the game to a crawl. Ellender held the ball at half court for nearly 90 seconds, called a timeout, then burned almost another minute off the clock before Parafait nailed his fifth 3-pointer, swaying momentum back to the Patriots. Ellender would eventually take a 30-23 lead into halftime.

"I just wanted to get out of that quarter because we were in foul trouble," Scott said. "I didn't want to go into the half with anybody having more fouls then they already had."

"I'm proud of the players for working hard to get back into the game by halftime," Neal said. "It's so hard. You put so much energy to get back into the game that often you miss shots that you normally would have made."

Ellender stayed hot at the start of the third quarter. They had a 12-4 streak capped by a basket plus the foul by Justin Johnson (12 points) to go up 42-27.

The Gators responded by closing the quarter with a 12-3 run begun on a Wilson layup and the foul. South Terrebonne trailed 45-39 entering the final period.

Both teams traded scores most of the fourth quarter. Wilson constantly penetrated into the lane for Gator layups, while the underside Patriots grabbed numerous offensive rebounds until they scored.

Consecutive buckets by Wilson and Chandler cut the Gators' deficit to 53-50 with 1:44 remaining. But after a pair of Parafait free throws, Eric Welch (four points) stole a Gators pass and drove the length of the floor for an uncontested layup that sealed the Patriots win.

Neal hopes his team takes from this loss the importance of not getting off to a slow start.

"We hustled, came back and made a game of it, but we ran out of gas towards the end," Neal said. "We didn't finish the game as strong as I would have liked."

For Scott, he wants his squad to learn how to better maintain a lead.

"Our district is tough. Everybody is playing everybody well," he said. "I think this will propel us into our next game."

ELLENDER 78, SOUTH TERREBONNE 23 (GIRLS)

At Bourg, the Lady Patriots (13-4, 3-0 in district) dominated from start to finish in their District 8-4A victory.

Ellender got double digits scoring efforts from Sky Jasper, 17, Kara Scott, 16, Sage Scott, 13, and Amari Banks, 11.

Bethany Clay (eight) and Monet Cox (seven) led the Lady Gators (3-10, 0-3 in district) in points.

Ellender was ahead 24-6 after the first quarter; 44-11 at halftime, and 60-18 to end the third.